James Wood, 4 July 2019
If they were posh, they were interestingly so, like the brilliant mathematician and future Fields medalist Timothy Gowers, whose father was a composer and whose great-great-grandfather had been a famous neurologist. Or they came from bohemian and eccentric families, like Boris Johnson, perhaps with a hint of social arrivisme. Johnson, by the way, looked pretty much the same at 15 as he does at 55, and was a familiar sight as he charged and flapped his way around the college lanes. The bigfoot stoop (he was known as ‘the Yeti’), the bumbling confidence, the skimmed-milk pallor, the berserk hair, the alarming air of imminent self-harm, which gave the impression that he had been freshly released from some protective institution: all was already in place.